Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Bhupenda’s Zindabad Mandela archived

GUWAHATI, Dec 13 – As people from across the globe together with their political leaders pay tribute to the greatest political icon of the contemporary world, and feel connected to Nelson Mandela, Assam, too, can feel connected to Madiba in a befitting manner.
This has been made possible by Assam’s music maestro, the late Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, when way back in 1990, in the presence of Mandela, Dr Hazarika sang (also wrote its lyrics and composed the music) Zindabad Mandela at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
The Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Literary and Cultural Forum, in a statement, said that at the initiative of the Forum, the ‘musical gem’ has been archived at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory (NMCM) with accession# NMAP 2013/002 since February 2013.
“So, any person visiting NMCM in South Africa can access and appreciate this song in praise of Mandela by the late Dr Hazarika.” Dr Sangita Choudhury, joint secretary of the Forum said.
Source : The Assam Tribune , 14 December 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dancing In Calcutta

Mandela remembered dancing to the music of Bhupen Hazarika, and also managed to persuade Mrs and Prime Minister Gujral to the dance floor
By Balmiki Prasad Singh , Source : outlookindia.com

My first meeting with Nelson Mandela was when he visited India after his release from prison in 1990. I happened to be visiting Delhi from Assam and found out that he was to deliver the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Lecture at Teen Murti House. I had the good fortune of spending 7-8 minutes talking to him, as he was sitting alone in the front row, waiting for the arrival of the then Prime Minister V.P. Singh so that the function could begin.
My second meeting with him was in South Africa, when I had gone along with Prime Minister Inder Gujral's entourage, as union culture secretary in 1997— the first visit of an Indian Prime Minister after Mandela was sworn-in as President on 10th May, 1994. The courtesy call by Prime Minister Gujral on President Mandela was preceded by a ceremonial guard of honour. Secretary, MEA, V.K. Grover, High Commissioner Gopal Krishna Gandhi and I were ushered into the Presidential living room.
After exchange of pleasantries, President Mandela expressed his unhappiness that neither the President nor the Prime Minister of India had attended his swearing in ceremony. He also mentioned that after his release from prison, India was the first country he had visited. There was visible discomfiture. And then President Mandela went on to talk about the warmth that he had received in India during his visit there.
Seeing the unease of Prime Minister Gujral and sensing an opportunity, I mentioned that I had the privilege of meeting him at Teen Murti House at New Delhi on that occasion. Looking at me, he said that my face was familiar to him. I asked him what he considered as his most memorable public meeting in India. He promptly said it was at Kolkata where he had addressed nearly a million people at the maidan. President Mandela also remembered dancing to the music of a singer who had performed in his honour. I said that the singer, Bhupen Hazarika, was a friend whom I had known for a number of years. This helped change the atmosphere.
The rest of the visit of course went off exceedingly well. In fact, Prime Minister Gujral before being escorted to the waiting car was taken to a huge crowd which had assembled outside the gate. President Mandela introduced Prime Minister Gujral to the people with warmth. Subsequently, Prime Minister Gujral thanked me for my interjection that had earlier helped melt the ice. Later, at a dinner hosted in honour of Prime Minister Gujral, President Mandela persuaded both Prime Minister Gujral and Mrs Gujral to join him and his consort on the dance floor to the glee of the invitees.
Balmiki Prasad Singh is a former Governor of Sikkim